Hello Me, Meet the Real Me
I’m easy to talk to. I’m very intelligent. I’m an excellent communicator. I’m hilarious. I’m creative. These are all lies that I tell people everyday in hopes that my image isn’t sullied. I don’t tell them with my words – that would be too obviously arrogant. Instead, I only let certain parts of me show so that no one gets the idea that I have something wrong with me.
This is probably an exercise in futility. Most people who spend time with me, and especially those close to me are very familiar with my “rough edges.” But this is only because my weaknesses are so apparent that sometimes they’re difficult to hide.
As I have gotten older – though I’m still pretty young for an old guy – I have become more acutely aware of a tendency in myself to create a picture of me for everyone to look at. And I want that picture to be of someone who’s born with all of the talents and skills that he possesses. But after how ever many years of this, I’ve decided that this hurts me more than it helps me.
I have cared more about appearing smart or successful than about actually progressing in any area. This is clearer in the classroom setting than anywhere else. Everyone has been in a lecture with someone who is only asking questions to appear smart.
That’s exactly the attitude that I want to fight. I don’t learn anything if I just want to look good. It is easy for me to assume that people are just born with intelligence and creativity, and sharp social skills. But that isn’t the case. Someone might be born with a head start, but no one has some sort of genetic capability that doesn’t have to be practiced and developed. So I am making two commitments:
(1) I will not sacrifice a learning experience to maintain an appearance of being intelligent or talented. That means that I will ask the stupid questions if I need to, and admit when I’m wrong.
(2) I will consistently value progression in a skill over proficiency in a skill. I will act out and practice and put my reputation on the line in order to develop the areas in my life that need to be improved.
I don’t want to waste my effort presenting a picture of myself that is a lie while the real me wastes away. Instead, I’m going to try and allow people to see my imperfections because that is the only way that I can learn.
I need to be ready to bleed a little.